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Whipple’s Moonwatch: Amateur Astronomers in the Space Age

October 4, 2017 marked the 60th anniversary of the launch of Earth’s first artificial satellite “Sputnik,” in 1957. The world was astonished by the news that the Soviet Union had successfully put a satellite into Earth’s orbit for the first time in history. Sputnik had a profound impact on international relations, military affairs, science, and technology. …

Cecilia and Sergei: American Astronomers

Many great minds and personalities have graced this Observatory, but few so illustrious as those of Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin and her husband Sergei. Together, and separately, they made great impacts on how astronomers see the universe. Cecilia began questioning the make-up of the stars, finding in her graduate research that hydrogen and helium are massively more …

Illustrating Astronomy: E.L. Trouvelot at HCO

Celestial photography often stands as the legacy of the Harvard College Observatory in its early years. But its directors still recognized the value of old-fashioned observations of a human eye in real time. To assist their work at the telescope, they tended to hire assistants trained in astronomy and skilled in mathematics. But Joseph Winlock, …

Annie Jump Cannon: Account of the Total Eclipse

[Background Note: Annie Jump Cannon traveled to Virginia Beach, VA to see the total solar eclipse of May 28, 1900. She wrote this journal shortly after observation. The journal is now part of the Papers of Annie Jump Cannon, 1863-1978 collection at the Harvard University Archives (HUGFP 125). This transcription of the original was written by …

Follow Phaedra on Social Media

We’ve created Twitter and Instagram accounts to keep you updated on Project Phaedra! Follow to learn more about our journey processing this collection, when new materials are available for transcription, and whatever neat highlights we find along the way. We’ve just sent our first batch of notebooks off to the imaging department at Harvard’s Widener Library. …

PHaEDRA will be at the Smithsonian Digitization Fair!

PHAEDRA has been accepted to the Smithsonian Digitization Fair! At our exhibit table, Wolbach librarians will be available to share information and developments in our efforts to digitize and transcribe astronomical logbooks from the 19th and early 20th centuries. The theme of this year’s Digitization Fair is “Bracing for Impact: Digitizing Collections to Change Lives!” Our …